Computers for Dummies for Dummies
January 9, 2012 6:41 PM   Subscribe

I need a book to help me teach my dad how to be computer literate.

My dad finally wants to put some effort into learning how to use a computer. Thing is, he really has no knowledge at all. Right clicking is a skill he hasn't mastered yet. So, I'd like a book to go through with him so he can get some basic computer and internet skills. Anyone have any suggestions?
posted by Garm to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Surely there's a Computers for Dummies book out there?
posted by Effigy2000 at 7:10 PM on January 9, 2012

There is. Also, maybe just sitting down with the Windows/whatever tutorial/walkthrough.
posted by timsteil at 7:12 PM on January 9, 2012

BBC - WebWise - Computer Basics Course This isn't a book, but an online interactive course with a bit of British humor.
posted by plokent at 7:49 PM on January 9, 2012

Response by poster: There are a million books for this, I was just wondering if anyone had used or could recommend one in particular. That BBC one is really neat, but my dad has dial up and it would take forever.
posted by Garm at 8:32 PM on January 9, 2012

Best answer: There are a few starter books that are good, sort of depending on what sort of learner he is. I like the book that timsteil links to. Other ones that are pretty straightforward are "the missing manual" series and the Teach Yourself Visually series. If he's inteersted in more of the nuts and bolts [but only if] I'd also suggest the How Computers Work books. The last two books are heavy on the visuals and good for people who learn well that way. The first two are more manual-style. Good for references, but maybe not for tutorials. As always I suggest seeing of the local library or senior center has classes as well, sometimes people are encouraged to go a little further than they might otherwise if they are with other people.

I know you say he has dialup, but I'd suggest finding something he can do that will give him some mouse practice as well as finding an interesting project for him to start with. For many people this is Solitaire, there's also a very low bandwidth website called Mousercise that has a lot of straightforward exercises to do with the mouse that cover the range of "what a mouse can do" that I've had really good responses from with people I've been teaching basic computer skills to.
posted by jessamyn at 9:10 PM on January 9, 2012

I know you asked for a book, but did you check out the local public school or library (if you are in the US) for classes? They are great and very inexpensive or free.
posted by Yellow at 6:26 AM on January 10, 2012

My answer is somewhat nonresponsive to the question, but although I got my Dad a computer years ago the books he tried were all pretty useless - he was starting from way too far at the bottom of the learning curve. When he got his iPad though he took to it like a duck in water.

It occurred to me that for a never-ever user, the mouse-pointer stuff was and remained very complicated, whereas with the iPad you can just mash things directly with your fingers. The removal of the level of abstraction represented by the mouse definitely helped him to figure things out much more quickly. He is now a die-hard iPad user and doesn't feel nearly as alienated from it as he did from his PC.
posted by mikel at 8:08 AM on January 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: My Mom wanted to "learn all about the computer" except that she hated the bloody thing. Instead, teach him how to do specific tasks, like read, reply to, delete and print email, how to recognize spam, phishing and other malware, how to use the Web for the things that interest him, like ebay, amazon, the site for his UFW post, news, weather, genealogy, sites about his hobbies. Teach him how to find funny stuff, as well as video tutorials for all kinds of stuff. Populate his bookmarks with snopes, gmail(best spam-filtering).

Show him few cool things, like editing a picture with, tv shows on, skype with grandkids, etc., that will get him to use the computer for fun. Just take it a step at a time. Your local adult ed. program may have a course.
posted by theora55 at 5:22 PM on January 10, 2012

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